It’s Prog Boy in the flesh and a case of creature –
and castle – comforts for the artist-musician.
Artist, illustrator, DJ and musician Pete Fowler is no stranger to the pages of Prog. In the early days of the mag he appeared – with some favourite and very experimental sounds – as a subject of My Record Collection, and when we came up with the concept of long-running comic strip Prog Boy, Fowler was first choice for visuals.
But where does his love of prog start? “As a kid, comics and watching cartoons were the big things for me,” he says, “and anything related to music. 2000AD had that, and became a touchstone. Meanwhile, I was exposed to quite weird music at an early age and I’d say Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past planted a seed.”
Growing up in Cardiff, Fowler had the modern culture of a capital city around him, mixed with deep, Celtic history. It was a haven for prog rock and psychedelia. “I had record shops in town such as Spillers and especially Kellys,” he says. “A lot of people were interested in prog and psych and you’d pick up great stuff all the time. Even knowing that Rockfield Studios was close by was such a buzz.”
Native band Super Furry Animals spotted
Fowler’s work in a free paper, and commissioned him to create the sleeve for Radiator . A partnership flourished from there. “I like their colourful point of view and playful angle,” he says. “Their influences were across the board, and exotic. Working with them lead to a lot of things.”
Fowler then created his own world of super furry creatures with his Monsterism concept and went on to collaborate with bands such as Acid Mothers Temple (“a walking cartoon of a band!”) and chief Charlatan and experimental head Tim Burgess. Recently, Fowler has worked with CADW, the Welsh government’s historic environment service, on a project celebrating standing stones, castles and Welsh literature. “It was called Weird And Wonderful Tales and we re-explored the Mabinogion [legends of 12th century Wales] over six locations with storytellers and art,” he says. “Welsh folklore is well prog! Wizards, goblins, ladies of the lake, giants… It was a really important project for me. I realised I’d been carrying these characters around with me and drawing upon them my whole life.” JK
“Welsh folklore is well prog!”
PAINTING BY PROG: ILLUSTRATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE PETE FOWLER.